What causes large holes in tree trunks? Discovering a gaping cavity in your beloved specimen is akin to finding a hole in your home’s roof — unsettling, to say the least.
As Estero’s trusted tree service, we at Island Tree Service love to enlighten our clients on the mysteries of their living landscapes. Keep reading as we break down the top culprits behind this phenomenon.
If you thought the only trouble brought by birds was messy droppings and the occasional stolen fruit, think again! Woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees, and other cavity-nesting birds can create tree hollows in their quest for a cozy home or a protein-packed insect feast. These avians also prefer to target already weakened trees, so maintaining the health of your landscape can deter these pesky pests.
When discussing what causes large holes in tree trunks, we would feel remiss not to bring up insects. As opportunistic as birds can be, these creepy crawlies know how to take advantage of a situation even better.
Borers and bark beetles love to feast on sapwood (the part of the tree composed of soft tissue) and can quickly spread throughout a plant when left unchecked. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, don’t eat the wood but hollow it out to create their nests. They love damp, decayed wood, so keeping your trees healthy and well-pruned can help avoid attracting these pests.
Common warning signs of an infestation include:
- Sawdust-like debris
- Fine webbing
- Oozing sap
- Visible mud tunnels
- Branch dieback
- Small holes all over the tree
Mother Nature’s whims can cause all sorts of damage to the tree, from lightning strikes to hurricanes. Large cavities in tree trunks may stem from extreme weather conditions like strong winds or hail storms that hammer away at already weakened limbs and bark until they collapse entirely.
You might feel surprised to learn that some holes stem from human activities, not those pesky woodpeckers or insects! Tree testing or coring is a common practice among arborists, kind of like a regular check-up at the doctor, but for mature trees. By extracting a small chunk of wood from a tree, one can assess its age and overall health without causing significant harm.
The Aging Effect
Trees, much like humans, show signs of aging, and hollows in tree trunks can be a natural part of this process. In the autumn of their years, some trees develop cavities akin to wrinkles on an older person’s face. It’s nature’s architecture at play, a testament to the trials and triumphs of a tree’s lifespan.
Consult an Expert
Accurately identifying what causes large holes in tree trunks often requires a keen eye and professional expertise. That’s where we, the tree sleuths at Island Tree Service, come into the picture. Our crew of certified arborists can help you demystify what ails your landscape and devise a tailored treatment plan.